Rauner accuses Quinn of ‘corruption’ in anti-violence program
BY DAVE MCKINNEY AND NATASHA KORECKI Staff Reporters April 30, 2014 8:27PM
Republican Illinois gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner speaks to reporters about term limits for lawmakers, Wednesday, April 30, 2014 in Springfield Ill. (AP Photo/Seth Perlman)
Updated: June 2, 2014 1:10PM
SPRINGFIELD — Republican gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner on Wednesday accused Gov. Pat Quinn of having “engaged in significant corruption and patronage” after his administration acknowledged turning over records to a Cook County grand jury investigating his 2010 anti-violence grant program.
Rauner, who also continued his assault on Quinn for a separate state hiring probe at the Illinois Department of Transportation, had the governor on the defensive all day with a potentially potent issue that threatens to severely undermine the Chicago Democrat’s efforts to portray himself as a reformer and ethics champion.
The Chicago Sun-Times reported Tuesday that Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez has opened a criminal investigation into Quinn’s now-disbanded, $54.5 million Neighborhood Recovery Initiative, a massive, election-year grant program that faced a scathing state audit in February and that has been the subject of a series of Sun-Times reports.
The Cook County subpoena was issued to the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity on March 19 and sought records tied to the Neighborhood Recovery Initiative — including those for the Chicago Area Project, a program tied to the husband of Cook County Circuit Court Clerk Dorothy Brown.
“The news this week that Gov. Pat Quinn is being investigated by Anita Alvarez for criminal investigation of corruption in his Neighborhood Recovery Initiative, his anti-violence program, and the news the inspector general is investigating corruption and patronage in the Department of Transportation just highlights how broken our culture is in Springfield and how our current governor, Pat Quinn, just like his predecessor, Rod Blagojevich, has engaged in significant corruption and patronage,” Rauner told reporters in Springfield.
“We have career politicians who are fundamentally corrupt and engaging in patronage cronyism and failing the people of our state, and we’ve got to dramatically change that culture,” Rauner said.
Quinn’s campaign charged back, raising Rauner’s ownership of “hundreds of nursing homes across the country and saw the opportunity to make a buck by slashing the care of residents,” in a statement on Wednesday. The alleged practices were the subject of TV attack ads against Rauner in the Republican primary.
Alvarez’s subpoena is the first evidence that a law-enforcement agency is actively investigating Quinn’s tainted anti-violence program.
Brown acknowledged little on Wednesday when the Sun-Times posed a series of questions.
When asked if she or her husband had been asked to turn over information to law-enforcement authorities and whether she cooperated with authorities, Brown responded, through a spokeswoman: “These questions are not related to the Office of the Clerk of the Circuit Court.”
Nataha Korecki reported from Chicago, and Dave McKinney reported from Springfield.